Anastasia Broadway Review


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Official poster for Anastasia: The New Broadway Musical

Christopher Ocker, Staff Writer

Anastasia is one of many animated films that had faded into obscurity due to time as well as the fact that it was not produced by Disney. However, the 2017 Broadway revival has brought the story back to the forefront with a couple new plots and ideas. While Anastasia is a perfectly serviceable show to see, it lacks the pizazz and uniqueness to survive the growing number of Broadway musicals.

Anastasia takes place in 1927 after the Communist revolution in Russia. Anya, a woman with no memory of her past, is roped into a plan with two other Russians to escape Russia by passing Anya off as the dead but rumored-to-be-alive Grand Duchess Anastasia. However, as Anya begins to regain some of her memories, there is a chance that Anya is indeed the lost princess. The story may seem very obvious at first, but there is an interesting amount of depth given to the situation regarding the character reacting to the information Anya receives. The issue, however, is that the story takes a long time to really get moving. The first act feels painfully slow and it establishes characters in very rudimentary ways. The second act, meanwhile, is very strong. There are multiple moments that are incredibly powerful and filled with great amounts of humor and emotion. One scene, in particular, is filled with great symbolism and parallelism that is set with the backdrop of great dancing and palpable suspense. Act II is great theatre, but it takes a long time to reach those levels of enjoyment.

The presentation of the entire show, while not bad or boring, is fairly mediocre for Broadway standards. This is most evident in the soundtrack. Only a handful of songs are taken from the original movie and the rest are well written but there is nothing outstanding about them. The only notable songs are Journey to the Past and Land of Yesterday and even those songs seem to lack the power and strength that those scenes intake. The same can be said for the stage which is typical but nothing to write home about. Despite all those small problems, the acting is still great. Christy Altomare is a perfect fit for Anya and John Bolton gives a hilarious performance as Vlad. Ramin Varloo as Dmitry is also great, but he is being replaced by Cody Simpson for whom I cannot speak. The rest of the actors are suitable and the ensemble does a great job as well.

Overall, Anastasia is a very enjoyable show, if you can sit past the mundane Act I. It takes the plot of the original film and transforms the story into a much more mature and enjoyable experience. I would recommend Anastasia very much, but there are still other shows on Broadway that are equally priced and significantly more enjoyable and powerful